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Central Europe Rally Special-Newssection (1st round Dakar-Series 2008)

This is the single-news section of the special of the Central Europe Rally 2008, the first round of the new Dakar-Series. To see all news please use the link under the article or navigate with the left main-navigation.

Central Europe Rally: Volkswagen wins first leg of new European Rally.

Volkswagen delivers a successful start into the Central Europe Rally: With their Race Touareg, Carlos Sainz/Michel Périn (E/F) prevailed in the first leg of the Central Europe Rally, from Budapest (Hungary) to Baia Mare (Romania). On the just 63-kilmometre long special stage that was extremely demanding for both drivers and equipment, nevertheless, the reigning overall FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup winners set the best time, ahead of Robby Gordon (Hummer) and their Volkswagen team-mates Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz (RSA/D). For the Race Touareg, it was the 62nd stage win since its debut appearance, back in 2004.

Following the first leg of the Central Europe Rally - an event the ‘Dakar´ organisation A.S.O is heralding a new marathon rallying era with - four Race Touareg are holding top-six positions. The customer team Lagos represented by Carlos Sousa/Andreas Schulz (P/D) finished fifth on day one, with works pairing Dieter Depping/Timo Gottschalk (D/D) coming sixth. While a multiple somersault made a sudden and early end to the Central Europe Rally appearance of Mark Miller/Ralph Pitchford (USA/RSA).

In the second of the seven legs, held on Monday, a 100-kilometre special stage will be contested on a loop around Baia Mare that must be completed twice.

Kris Nissen (Volkswagen Motorsport Director): "A good start for Volkswagen into this new rally. Quite obviously, I´m delighted with Carlos Sainz and Michael Périn taking the lead as well as four Race Touaregs finishing among the top six. The team does an excellent job and the cars are running perfectly. Still, the somersault of Mark Miller and Ralph Pitchford represents a warning for everybody. On this difficult terrain, the slightest mistake can result in severe consequences. Fortunately, they both survived the incident unharmed but our engineers checked the car and it´s just impossible to repair it in time for leg two."

Carlos Sainz (E): "A truly demanding special stage. The terrain represented a real challenge as it was extremely undulated and featured a lot of jumps. We didn´t take major risks but succeeded in quickly finding a good rhythm, with our Race Touareg. Despite being very short, the special stage was very varied, with changeable terrain - there even were sandy sections. Furthermore, the track was extremely narrow, narrower than we had expected it to be. Altogether, everything went fine for us, not least because of my co-driver, Michel Périn, having done a flawless job."

Giniel de Villiers (RSA): "To get the right feeling for the terrain, we opted for contesting the first special stage of this rally very carefully. We quickly adapted to the challenge and in the closing stages, we could push a little harder. I´m truly happy with the time being the result of this effort. A good start for Volkswagen."

Carlos Sousa (P): "I´m extremely delighted with the result, my co-driver Andy Schulz and the Race Touareg. From my point of view, it was a truly agreeable special stage, just as it was that challenging. It was unexpectedly undulated but contesting it was big fun. Unfortunately, we were hampered by a dirty windscreen, in the opening stages. Consequently, we nearly couldn´t see anything, for about ten kilometres. In consideration of this problem, the result is outstanding."

Dieter Depping (D): "A good start for both Volkswagen and me and my co-driver Timo. We clocked a really good time. It´s true, we experienced an eye-opener - but altogether, we didn´t take any unnecessary risks. Now we´ve got a good feeling for both the Race Touareg and the track - and look forward to day two."

Mark Miller (USA): "Unfortunately, our rally was over with just a few kilometres covered. I a sharp right-hander, we suddenly lost control and the car somersaulted several times. Still, in this incident, the Race Touareg again demonstrated to be a reliable and safe car. My co-driver Ralph Pitchford and I survived the incident unharmed and are fine. I´m really sorry for Volkswagen and the mechanics who did a great job preparing the Race Touareg for us."

2008/04/20 | 23:50 CET | Editor: MR/HS/Volkswagen

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